Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 17

5 Grey's Anatomy Season 18 Theories To Occupy Your Brain

The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial will return for another season. Let's predict their fates.


Grey Sloan Memorial lives on. After plenty of fan speculation that Grey’s Anatomy would end with Season 17, ABC’s beloved medical drama was officially renewed for a new season. But what exactly will happen to everyone’s favorite doctors is anyone’s guess, and these Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 theories will have your mind racing.

ICYMI: It initially seemed like Grey’s was wrapping up for good with Season 17. Series lead Ellen Pompeo hadn’t renewed her contract for another season, and iconic couples like MerDer and Japril basically became endgame, tying up some major loose ends. But longtime fans can breathe a sigh of relief, because the latest season isn’t the end after all.

On May 10, ABC announced Grey’s Anatomy would come back for Season 18, as Pompeo renewed her contract and further solidified her position as one of TV’s top-paid stars. “Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy have done an incredible job of honoring real-life heroes by giving audiences an unflinching look at one of the biggest medical stories of our time," ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich said in a statement about both shows’ renewals. "We look forward to sharing even more defining moments with our fans next season.”

Although the show’s return is great news, it’s unclear what exactly will go down in Season 18. The coronavirus pandemic is still a major medical issue IRL, so how will the show continue to capture this huge historical moment? Will Mere still be dealing with COVID symptoms? And perhaps most importantly, which doctors are going to hook up next?! Only time will tell, but for now, let’s break down some big Season 18 theories:

1. There will be a time jump.

While Season 17 showed the doctors fighting the coronavirus pandemic at its peak, the state of the country will hopefully look much different by the time Season 18 presumably premieres in fall 2021. To help the characters start getting back to “normal” and show the long-term effects of the pandemic, maybe Season 18 will jump into a future where vaccines have rendered coronavirus much less of a threat.

2. Meredith and/or Tom will deal with long-term COVID effects.


Speaking of long-term COVID effects, one of Grey’s Anatomy’s greatest strengths has always been balancing fictional drama with real-world issues, especially as they pertain to the medical world. As vaccines have been developed and hope for a post-pandemic world has grown, many people have paid increasing attention to COVID “long-haulers,” or people who experience side effects for months or possibly longer after contracting the virus.

Since Meredith’s case was particularly serious, maybe the writers will show her or fellow COVID patient Tom dealing with “long-hauler” symptoms to raise awareness of the issue.

3. There will be a love triangle between Meredith, Jo, and Hayes.

Okay, I’ll admit it: Season 17 definitely set up MerDer as endgame. But Derek told Meredith on the beach that he was okay with her pursuing other relationships back on Earth as long as she was happy, and Mere and Hayes have struck up a flirty work friendship over the last few seasons. But Jo is also on the market after Alex and Jackson both left, and sparks flew between her and Hayes while Mere was in her coma. So, Grey’s could be gearing up for a good old-fashioned love triangle in Season 18.

4. There will be a big wedding.


Maggie and Winston got engaged during Season 17, and new parents Amelia and Link also discussed tying the knot at one point. Season 18 will hopefully show the characters returning to a more “normal” life after battling the pandemic, and what better way to celebrate that than with a wedding?

5. It will be the final season — for real this time.

The fact that Season 17 seemed like Grey’s Anatomy’s final season for so long doesn’t bode well for the show’s long-term prospects. Longtime stars Pompeo, Chandra Wilson (who plays Miranda Bailey), and James Pickens Jr. (who plays Richard Webber) only signed new contracts through Season 18, so whether Grey Sloan Memorial’s doors stay open after that is anyone’s guess. But for now, fans have plenty of exciting theorizing to do.